Akaaka, 2019. Edition of 500 copies. Softcover, 257 x 364 mm, 208 pp., b/w illustrated throughout. Photographs by Emi Anrakuji.
Shortlisted for Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook of the Year Award 2019
Emi Anrakuji’s Balloon Position is a stream-of-conscious-like unfolding of the artist’s conflicted soul. Taken twenty years ago, the soft, sensual black-and-white photos form a visual poem about loneliness and existential confusion.
Through Cyclopean gaze, literally the artist's vision, impaired by suffering a brain tumour, attempts to reconstruct the shattered self that was suspended between conflicting internal and external chaos, life near death, eternal rainfall, gives herself to the construction of a handmade book. Balloon Position an appropriation, a facsimile of that dummy, a document of a document. Anrakuji, a medium, photographic shaman, seeking through, literary, poetical, philosophical references in her enquiries. Presenting what we love and fear.
Emi Anrakuji was born in Tokyo, Japan. She studied oil painting at Musashino Art University in Tokyo. Soon after her graduation, she was diagnosed with a cerebral tumor which caused a severe degradation of her eyesight. The illness forced her to abandon her aspiration to become a professional painter. In the course of a decade-long recovery, one day she discovered that a camera can be a replacement of her eyes then began teaching herself photography at her hospital bed. Anrakuji's obsession with the human body is a result, in part, from her long periods spent hospitalized.